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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

I only began watching The Bachelor (and Bachelorette, respectively) within the last couple of years. During my freshman winter quarter, my roommate and I would curl up in our dorm and avidly debate who we thought would win Nick Viall’s heart (does that name date me?). It soon became a social activity, one where our friends would come and watch with us- even a few of our guy friends would stand in the doorway and weigh in. Since then, it has been a loose tradition in my life, one kept with the various roommates, housemates, and friends I have had. 

woman eating popcorn
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Recently, in my sociology of gender class, my professor posed the question- are shows like The Bachelor/ Bachelorette inherently enforcing heteronormative (and mainly white) cultural norms? Is The Bachelorette more feminist than The Bachelor? For the first time in my three years of watching, I paused and thought about it. 

The premise of the show is absurd. One man searches for his perfect wife, out of thirty young, usually former pageant models vying for his attention. The Bachelor (who has historically always been a cis white man) wines and dines “the women,” often on bizarre group dates and trips to exotic locations. In the end, there is a “winner” and a televised proposal in the two-hour season finale. Try explaining this plot line to your parents and you’ll realize how insane it all sounds. 

bouquet of roses couple
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So, why are so many feminists hooked on The Bachelor? Why do women, like myself, who are independent and educated, gather around the TV every Monday night and engage in heated debates about contestants and potential plot outcomes? Is it because it’s a designated block of time in a busy college student’s life? Or is it an underlying subconscious acceptance of systemic patriarchy? Conversely, is The Bachelorette feminist, as it revolves around men competing for a woman? Who has the power?

As Peter’s season comes to an end, consider the implications of the show’s international success, and the greater message the show generates to its millions of viewers.

Josephine is a fourth year at the University of California Davis, where she is studying Sociology. In her free time, she enjoys picnics at the Davis Farmers Market and watching Friends. She is planning on pursuing a career in writing and hopes to be actively involved in the political realm after graduating. 
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